Volume 20 Issue 4 Feb. 14, 2014Portage Central High School Portage, Mich.
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How MIP consequences affect students
As long as alcohol has existed, teenagers have been committed to getting their hands on it.
And whenever alcohol and teenagers mix, the law is not far behind. As the school policy stands, students issued Minor in Possession (MIP) tickets have virtually no repercussions from the school itself unless the offense takes place on school property.
However, athletes and students in other ac-tivities who get MIPs can count on strict punish-ment as a result of their actions, ranging from a 20-percent suspension to one that lasts a full sea-son. One such teen, a senior involved in athletics year-round who received an MIP and served the consequences, believes the punishment, coupled with the embarrassment of living with the MIP, is too severe.
The punishment you get, regardless of the school punishment, is already enough, the ath-lete said.
The student believes that the loss of respect from parents, teammates and coaches is already bad enough and by being suspended, it only makes it worse. They believe no further punish-ment is necessary
Also, the student believes the school needs to take further measures to reach out and help stu-dents who receive MIPs, instead of just giving punishment. The student was not offered coun-seling or any other help from the school; the pun-ishment was simply doled out and no assistance was offered.
Resource officers duty
When a student is involved with criminal activity outside of school, the school is notified through the resource officer. When a student re-ceives an MIP, the resource officer receives the report of the incident and passes it along to ad-ministrators.
Along with school-related punishments, an MIP also entails legal repercussions, according to former resource officer Brian Mayhew.
Admistrators duty Code of conduct consequences[An MIP] goes on your driving record, May-hew said. Usually your driving record has viola-tions that come and go after a certain amount of time. It used to be a misdemeanor, so it would go on your criminal record.
With each offense comes harsher penalties. If the culprit is 17 years or older, the offender is ticketed $100 and has to pay additional court fees.
Substance abuse treatment may be tacked on to the penalty if the court decides it is necessary.
The second offense increases the ticket charges and suspends the license for 30 to 60 days.
If a third offense occurs, the fine raises to $500, the offenders license is suspended for a full year and jail time is possible in certain circumstances. If the offender is younger than 16 years old, they are not ticketed, but the juvenile court may insti-tute a day-long substance abuse program.
Theoretically, an offender does not have to be consuming alco-hol in order to ob-tain an MIP.
A c c o r d i n g to the Michigan Liquor Control Code, A minor shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alco-holic liquor, consume or attempt to consume al-coholic liquor, possess or attempt to possess alco-holic liquor.
However, according to Mayhew, most police officers will not issue an MIP to someone who did not consume alcohol as long as they cooperate with the authorities.
In order to issue an MIP, a police officer must have probable cause and obtain a search warrant. The officer will then use the search warrant to en-ter a party supected to have underage drinkers in attendence.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, an MIP par-ty is broken up because someone is calling with a complaint, Mayhew said. Ive found most of the time the people who call are the people who are upset they didnt get invited.
For those students participating in athletics and other extracurricular activities, there are pun-ishments from the school. The code of conduct for students in extra-curricular activities has a zero- tolerance policy for illegal drugs, tobacco and al-cohol.
When MIP incidents occur, administrators for-ward the reports on to the activities director Kent White and the athletic director Jim Murray. Mur-ray and White then carry out the policies stated in the code of conduct.
There does not need to be a police report for a student to be found in violation of the code of con-duct involving drugs or alcohol. Possession and consumption and association with drugs, tobacco and alcohol, whether there are legal repercussions or not, is violating the code of conduct.
For example, if a picture circulated on Twit-ter includes a student drinking alcohol, there is enough evidence to find that student in violation of the code of conduct. However, police would not be able to prove that there was actually any alcohol in that container, which would result in no MIP citation.
Ultimately, the decision for consequences from the code of conduct is up to Murray and White. Murray and White investigate controversial situ-ations, such as pictures, quotes on social media, rumors from other students or parents, and any filed police reports, without being charged, to de-termine whether students are in violation of the code of conduct or not.
Even for students who are 18 years old and le-gally allowed to consume tobacco products, there is still a zero-tolerance policy for those students under the code of conduct; therefore, students who are 18 can still receive punishments from the school for the consumption or possession of tobacco.
On the first offense for students in violation of the code of conduct for drugs, tobacco and alco-hol, there is a 20-percent suspension from games for the students involved. On second offense, a student will miss 50 percent of their next season. On third offense, which Murray said he has never seen, a student misses a full calendar year of ath-letics and other extra-curricular activities.
When a student receives an MIP outside of school, state law requires the police to report the incident to the school.
When administrators receive an incident re-port from the school resource officer, they pass the report on to the activities and athletic offices, according to assistant principal Jason Frink.
The school does not issue further consequenc-es than what the extracurricular code of conduct dictates.
We pass it (incident report) off to both the athletic